I remember in high school, our guidance counselors stressed the importance of getting into a four year college right after graduation. Community colleges were frowned upon because they were deemed as “an extension of high school” and didn’t hold nearly as much respect. Granted I did not know that I wanted to go to nursing school until I was 22, but I wish that I was steered in a more clear direction how cost effective community college was and that you can always go further.
I had been working for four years as a medical assistant when the nurse practitioner told me that I needed to go further. I wasn’t even considering applying to the local community colleges so I applied at UMASS Boston to see if I could get into their program, which I couldn’t; but I did get accepted into their exercise and health sciences major. I thought it would be best to take a semester of pre-reqs and then apply again for the following semester. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get accepted that following semester either so I decided to stick out another semester of pre-reqs. And after getting into a $16,000 debt for one year, I only got 8 classes of pre-reqs out of it. I knew I had to go a different route if I wanted to get into a nursing program. So I found out the process of the nursing program enrollment at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and that is where I ultimately graduated from with my ASN at a fraction of the cost of what my tuition cost for UMASS Boston.
I decided to get my BSN when I already had 2 years experience as a nurse and was ready for a career change so I felt it was the right time for me to go further. I utilized an online program I found out from my nursing instructor at Bunker Hill called Western Governors University that transitioned me to my BSN. It was an amazing program and had an incredibly different approach to obtaining a degree. Check them out if you are interested in this or see the other programs they offer. They also offer MSN programs and it’s something I will probably pursue in the near future.
So regardless of if you went to school for your ASN or BSN, we have the same amount of clinical hours under our belt, we take the same boards and once we pass, we all have become registered nurses. Yes, a hospital may require a BSN prepared nurse, but that does not mean that you are any less of a nurse. I have met a lot of wonderful nurses and nurses holding high paying job titles with just their ASN. And thankfully, there are a lot of bridge programs out there that will transition you to become an RN-BSN if you want to go further.
Obtaining an ASN still puts you in a position where you can start your career to gain the experience you need to be a great nurse. Don’t be pressured to do something because it is viewed as the “better” thing to do. Do what you can that fits your life and just know that at the end of it, we are all great nurses no matter which way we got there.